March 24th, 2008
05:20 PM ET
15 years ago

Clinton campaign blasts Obama supporter's 'blue dress' comment

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The Obama and Clinton camps have been trading increasingly negative rhetoric."]
(CNN) - Senior Clinton advisers blasted Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign Monday after a major Obama supporter in Iowa compared Bill Clinton unfavorably to Joe McCarthy and referenced the blue dress at the heart of the impeachment scandal.

"When Joe McCarthy questioned others' patriotism, McCarthy (1) actually believed, at least aparently, the questions were genuine, and (2) he did so in order to build up, not tear down, his own party, the GOP,” wrote Gordon Fischer, a former chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, wrote on his blog. “Bill Clinton cannot possibly seriously believe Obama is not a patriot, and cannot possibly be said to be helping — instead he is hurting — his own party. B. Clinton should never be forgiven. Period. This is a stain on his legacy, much worse, much deeper, than the one on Monica's blue dress."

Fischer was referring to President Clinton’s comments over the weekend that a race between John McCain and Hillary Clinton would be a contest between two people who love their country, which some Obama supporters - including former Air Force Gen. Tony McPeak – have interpreted as an attack on Obama's patriotism.

Fischer later removed the post from his blog, replacing it with an apology. ”I sincerely apologize for a tasteless and gratituous comment I made here about President Clinton,” he wrote. “It was unnecessary and wrong. I have since deleted the comment, and again apologize for making it. It will not happen again. I hope my readers will accept my apology and we can move on to the very important issues facing our state and country. Thank you.” Fischer endorsed Obama last fall.

In a conference call with reporters Monday, Clinton aides said Fischer’s decision to attack the New York senator in “starkly personal terms” reflected “gutter tactics that (the Obama) campaign is now deploying.”

“It would appear to be that their high-minded rhetoric seems to be falling short,” said spokesman Phil Singer.

"This is now the Obama campaign’s primary message to the American people," said spokesman Howard Wolfson. "Not to build him up, but to tear Senator Clinton down."

He also dismissed Fischer’s apology. "That's all well and good… In my opinion the remarks of Gordon Fisher are very much in keeping with the campaign Senator Obama is running. So I don't know why he would apologize."

They also distanced themselves from remarks this weekend made by Clinton supporter James Carville, who seemed to compare Bill Richardson’s decision to endorse Barack Obama to Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.

"I'm not an expert on the topic to give a good answer," said Wolfson, who added that he would not have used those words and that in his view Richardson had served his country honorably.

UPDATE: Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton responded: "As Senator Obama has said repeatedly, comments like this have no place in our political dialogue and he strongly rejects them," said Burton.

In an e-mail to CNN's Richard Greene, Gordon Fischer said of his decision to remove the post: "I took it down becuase it was wrong. And stupid."

UPDATE at 3:29 p.m.: “I was quoted accurately and in context, and I was glad to give the quote and I was glad I gave it,” Carville told the New York Times, after Wolfson told reporters that he would have offered his apologies if he had made the remark. “I’m not apologizing, I’m not resigning, I’m not doing anything.”

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (262 Responses)
  1. concerned

    I just wonder how many people would like to take their vote back since Obama is finally being scrutinized. Too bad it didn't happen earlier.
    I voted Hillary in Ohio and will vote McCain if Obama gets the nomination. That's how much I dislike him, his wife and all his lies.

    March 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. Rodney

    Don't you just love how people can say something and then they think an apologiy will make it all go away. YOU CANNOT UNSAY WHAT HAS BEEN SAID.

    March 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  3. smarti

    At last, the specter of the blue dress finally rears its ugly head in this never-ending campaign. If the Clingon somehow manages to steal this nomination from the voters, get ready for the revival of the Monica chronicles.

    March 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  4. Mary

    Obama is phony, he is finished, he needs take a long long vacation.

    March 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. Moombay

    Senator Obama, the great pretender, refuses to allow the voice of the voters of Michigan and Florida to be heard. They will not be forgotten in November! Then his campaign declares that the don't like negative campaigning, yet they have come up with some of the most negative comments. From the hateful comments of his "reverend", to the monster comment from his former aide, and now personal negative attacks from from a Iowa official. The great pretender wants to have it both ways, raise the race issue and then when someone else says something about race, play the race card while accusing others of the same. Some people claim he is a uniter, but right now all he's doing is dividing the democratic party. He's a big disappointment and 'if" he becomes the nomine, McCain will get my vote.

    March 24, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  6. Another typical white woman

    Me thinks this Obama advisor wishes the stain was on his dress instead. Angry little man.
    Really, some of these people need to be given psych tests.

    March 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. Asians for Hillary

    I am sick of seeing Obama campaign's outrageous negativity, which more and more prove that Obama is not a uniter as he claims. He invited that stupid Fisher make disgusting comments in a rally. Now Fisher has apologized, why doesn't Obama? I would really love to see Hillary point this out in the upcoming debate and allow more people to see Obama's true color.

    March 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. anita

    The Clinton camp never learns.

    They must always preface every speech or interview with an accolade for Obama. Otherwise, the "in the tank" media commentators and Barry's Bunch get their feelings insulted and lash out with this type of drivel. Now which is actually reminiscent of McCarthy?

    March 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  9. Roberto

    No comment then, thanks

    March 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. Paull

    This is an Obama Supporter, NOT a campaign employee. Big difference. Mr Fischer only said what is true, and what many of us have been thinking. We don't want Billary back in the white house.

    An outhouse maybe.....

    March 24, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. Maryzep

    Democrats quarrel and behaves like "gutter-kids". Let every American vote, including those who live in Florida and Michigan, and calm down!
    In other case vote republican.

    March 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. Mary

    It's too bad the Clintons can't handle the truth.

    March 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. Jay Graham, Dallas, TX

    Its a clever strategy by Obama. He claims to be positive campaigner and attacks Clintons through his bull dogs who later say sorry. He is just the same Washington breed as other politicians. What do you expect something different from this freshman senator who gives big promises of hope and change by big speeches. The media needs money and they are using him with a big coverage.

    March 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. S. Shay

    Didn't the Clintons start this by referring to Obama's campaign as using 'Ken Starr like tactics?' LOL! They brought it up and now they are upset b/c an Obama supporter is playing along? I love it. The world should be reminded of her filthy husband and his lying "I did not have sexual relations with that woman.' And she dogged Monica, knowing her husband was a serial philanderer. I hope this gets coverage tonight and preempts her stolen speech from Obama about the economy.

    March 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  15. Emily

    druidmary: Not that you care, but Obama said that he was not present at those specific sermons, but that he had heard Wright say things that he disagreed with from the pulpit.

    He's not a liar, he's honest, unlike some politicians.

    March 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  16. low

    obama needs to accept that Americans are going to dig into his profile and character. especially when his judgement has been deeply disturbing.

    March 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  17. Gordon

    For Christ sake, this guy is an Obama supporter, he is not a campaign staff; he is an Obama voter.

    To equate what a voter on the street wrote on his blog to Obama Campign by Howard shows that he is ignorant and no wonder Clinton's camp is loosing badly.

    Howard have not indicated that they will be censoring the internet, blogsphere, newsgroups and any anti-clinton comments will be attributed to Obama campaign for which Obama must appologoze.

    The last time I check this is a free country and everyone have free speech and anyone can express them in anyway or through a means, but to equate the free speech of the America people to something else is nonesense.

    Howard should go back and put strategies that will ensure Clinton wins the nomination in a legal fashion all these is crap.

    March 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. Steve in Minneapolis

    Let's be pragmatic. Obama is flawed. Hillary is flawed. However, nationwide more people hate Hillary than hate Obama. Conclusion: make Obama the nominee and end this self-destructive infighting!!

    March 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  19. MNdemocrat

    The problem I have with all of Obama's supporters calling for Clinton supporters to "unite" the party and support Obama, is that I don't like him as a presidential candidate, or the positions he advocates. I don't think he has much experience, and I don't think he has paid much attention while he has been in the Senate. However, just like all politicians, he seems to be willing to take credit for doing something when he was actually absent from the discussion. In my opinion, Clinton has been involved in the actual governing process of a government system longer, and more effectively, then Obama.

    So, quit asking me to "unite" behind Obama when I don't think he is the best candidate.

    March 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  20. anony

    let me add that all the comments by the Clinton team are deeply cynical. has Ferraro ever apologized. at least Fischer here recanted, I can't recall in recent memory when Clinton supporter ever recanted their stupid remarks. But leave it to the Clinton team to make sarcastic remarks of anything positive brought into the race. Jesus, its not a joke when people say the Clinton's disgusted them. They really really do. Ugh, good glory please send the Clintons away. Please I hope i hope i hope!

    March 24, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. Marc in DeKalb, IL

    Guess what, Queen Clinton, those "gutter tactics" are the same filthy ones you've been using for months.

    Suck it up, princess.

    March 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  22. Meow

    Obama is a dirty LIAR and plays cheap

    March 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. Iris

    Obama 08! He is our next president, Dem's unite and infuse positivity in your spirit for our soon White House victory!

    March 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  24. christian

    hillary's chickens have come home to roost... sop it up HRC supporters! this is only a taste of the negativity Obama and his supporters have been getting "since Day 1."

    March 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  25. Obama's so-called new politics

    Yet another attack on the Clintons by an Obama supporter. Is this the new politics that Obama claims the American people want: negative as well as personal attacks? Putting it on the blog and then deleted it doesn't help. The negative attack was done and that was the point. The superdelegates need to see that Obama is desperate and is a liar. He says he is of a new kind of politics but the reality is that his new politics is taking a page from the Rove playbook. This behavior, along with his continued support and admiration for racist Rev. Wright continues to further divide the party and the nation. Let's all keep in mind that Obama spent 20 years listening to this hate and exposing his children to it as well. One has to ask oneself just how much of this racist attitude has been instilled in Obama especially when he says that "typical white people" cross the street every time they see a black person. If a white person said that, people would cry that they are racist. The opposite must also be true.

    March 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
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